Actus Reus

Actus Reus

Begin learning about the fundamental elements of criminal liability with this discussion of actus reus (i.e., the act element of any crime).


The fundamental elements of criminal liability are foundational requirements that apply to virtually all crimes.

Historically, our system of criminal law was developed through the so-called common law, which was primarily judge-made law and judicial interpretations.

I. Statutory Basis for Criminal Law

Today, in order for something to be a crime, there must be a statutory prohibition against it. That said, common law principles and cases still have an impact on the formulation and...